Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ideal Reader, part deux

I've been thinking about this whole 'Ideal Reader' thing, and the value of getting someone else to read your writing before it goes out to an agent/editor/the real world. I know I'd struggle without my IR, not least because she nags me to keep writing. The first novel would never have been finished had it not been for her gentle nagging/encouragement/downright bullying. The second novel hopefully won't need quite so much of this, not least because it's under contract, so umm... I kind of have to write it. And I want to, so that's good. But I could still do with huge dollops of encouragement, of course.

There aren't many people I'd trust to read my writing in its raw state. There aren't many (any?) people whose opinion I value so highly. BUT could I benefit from some different perspectives? Or would too many cooks spoil the book? Would I be too confused by one person saying 'I love this character - she's so DARK,' and another person saying 'Urgh, I hate this character - she's so DARK'? Would my brain explode?

It's an interesting question, to me at least.


  1. It is definitely an interesting question. I guess if you don't feel one opinion is enough then you could try showing another person. I think you'd need to be brave and be ready to ignore everything they say though if you don't agree.

  2. Critiques are tricky and not always necessary. After all, if you managed to get a book deal - you must be doing something right!

    On the other hand, I know where you're coming from. It's helpful to have validation sometimes. You just need to make sure that you pick the right person who'll be constructive without undermining your confidence.

  3. Becky- I think being able to ignore an opinion is almost as important as being able to listen!

    MC- I completely agree re: validation. Just having someone to say 'You're doing OK' is enough to help you carry on. Picking the right person is SO important! You want them to tell the truth, but in a very specific, positive way.